A jury has found a Baltimore City police officer guilty of first-degree assault for shooting a burglary suspect in the groin.
Officer Wesley Cagle was on trial for shooting the suspect after he was no longer considered to be a threat. He was also convicted of using a handgun during a violent crime.
Based on the investigation, four officers responded to a report of a commercial burglary in progress. As the burglary suspect left the commercial property, he was confronted by two officers. After being given verbal commands to show the officers his hands, the burglary suspect reached down. In fear of their safety, those two officers discharged their departmental-issued firearms multiple times, striking the burglary suspect several times and causing him to fall to the floor.
According to eyewitness accounts, while the burglary suspect was lying on the floor and the other two officers continued to cover him with their guns drawn, Cagle came out of the alley in the rear of the store, walked in front of the other officers, and approached the burglary suspect with his gun drawn.
Though the suspect wasn't considered a threat anymore, Cagle fired his .40 caliber department-issued firearm once, hitting the victim.
The investigation found the other three officers who responded to the scene acted legally.
"In partnership with the Baltimore Police Department, my office conducted a thorough investigation that revealed Mr. Cagle's actions were criminal in nature and we thereby pursued justice in this case as vigorously as we do in all cases," State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a statement. "I commend the witnesses who willingly testified against Mr. Cagle's reckless behavior as well as my prosecutors who presented such a strong case. I'm glad to know that the jury looked at the facts and evidence presented in this case and ensured that justice was served."
The investigation revealed that the other three officers who responded to the scene acted legally.
Baltimore Police issued a statement on the decision Thursday afternoon, stating:
Wesley Cagle was found guilty of a felony crime today. This case is an example of our absolute capacity to hold police officers accountable and serves as a reminder to our community that police officers in Baltimore are willing to step up when they see something they know is wrong.
Cagle is not entitled to the Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights at this stage and the Police Commissioner is taking immediate action in reference to this matter to separate his employment.
His actions are not representative of the vast majority of our men and women who wear this uniform.